Is there someone who really gets up your nose? Someone whose limbs you would not mind separating from their torso, or whose eyes you feel would look much better hanging down their cheeks o thin tendons? Maybe there is more than one? Invite them round to your place then, and boot up Hired Guns to relieve those tensions.
Everyone has their own style of reviewing a game. Personally, I like to begin with an introduction (like that one up there) and overview, then talk a little about what it has to offer, before giving an opinion as to how well these options are implemented - with references to other products if applicable.
Well sack that! I know there is an old adage that we should save the best till last, but really - why bother? If something stands up and shouts "I am a very good thing indeed!" at the top of its voice then the world should listen.
In case you are wondering what I am getting all hot up about, it is the sound. Yes - that which usually comes towards the back of a review - the phonetics, the intonation, the diacoustics, the sonorific resonance (can I have my thesaurus back now? - Ed).
At the outset, and before each level, there are several intro tunes which are by far and away the best tunes I have ever heard in a computer game, or am likely to do for some time I suspect.
Brian Johnston, brother of HG programmer and designer Scott, has done an absolutely superb job of setting the perfect mood with this fast-moving bassy synthesised music; connect your Amiga to the stereo and annoy the neighbours - it is great! So now you know.
The game then. Well, Hired Guns is an adventure at the core, but nothing quite so common as just that. It is a first person perspective 3D adventure, and very kindly caters for up to four players.
Set in 2707 when everyone is watched by Big Brother and work is carried out by robots, there exists a band of mercenaries who specialise in bumping people off, taking on any job at the right price. One such job is to blunder brainlessly into the attractively named town of Graveyard and rescue a number of hostages who unwittingly became imprisoned on their way to Butlins in Skegness.
One, two, three or four players choose their characters from a cast of 12, all sporting different attributes in terms of stamina, fitness, brainpower and the ability to juggle a large variety of smoked cheeses. This done, it is off into the wild blue yonder - or rather, dull brown landscape - in search for hostages.
Of course, it is no coincidence that Graveyard is so named - spooky beasts and skeletons stalk around tooled up to the eyes with all manner of weaponry, just begging to be blown away. And it is here where the first disappointment occurs. When a nasty - or a friend, for that matter - is shot, all we see are a few red lines slashed around the new corpse that resemble a naughty child's homework more than a death scene.
The sound effects are good though - although Spartan, they are realistic, and add a little depth to the lacklustre 3D graphics. The problem is that the screen is divided up into four parts to accommodate the four players, making each individual playing area very small.
Fair enough, Hired Guns is a rarity in that it caters for this many simultaneous players, but it would have been great if when in one or two-player mode the size of the play area became larger. Instead, if only you enter the game, it is you who takes charge of the four characters. They can be linked to follow each other, which makes control easier, but I cannot help thinking this part could have been handled better.
Clues to the whereabouts of the hostages can be found scattered throughout, along with extra weapons, medical packs and various ultra-modern aids.
Hired guns can be split into two definitive sections: the campaign part - nearly two million cubic metres of playing area, where a clever strategy and lots (and lots and lots...) of patience is required, and the action part - 20 stand-alone levels that can be treated as individual "quickie" adventure blasts.
It is evident from playing this that a hell of a lot of time and effort has been put into making it one very large game. And indeed, it is large - so large in fact, that despite the individual levels, ultimately the tiny play area, dark graphics and the large gaps between action make it a product lacking in any mass appeal - a game that will become a chore long before completion.